It’s about saving lives

LIHUE — Officials are hopeful that a recently completed video promoting water safety will save lives.

A sneak preview of the Kauai Lifeguard Association’s Ocean Safety Video was featured at the Malama Awards, and it delivered a strong message.

“It takes a desire within the community to support a program like ours,” said Andy Melamed, KLA marketing and event director.

Melamed raised funds for the video, wrote the script, and produced the six-minute, 40-second piece. Key, he said, is getting the video out there and letting people know about it.

The video was important to Melamed for many reasons. The obvious, to help save lives. He was pleased it was well received and received strong support, start to finish.

“You come up with this idea, this dream that has to have relevance, it means something to the community and to you,” he said. “Still you have to sell it and you have to do it.”

That’s where the strong support meant all the difference.

“That gives you even more fire,” Melamed said. “It makes you feel like you’re doing something for more than yourself.”

The video shows many of Kauai’s beautiful beaches — and it says those beaches sometimes have “treacherous ocean conditions” — and offers safety tips. It describes rip currents and how to get out of one by relaxing, floating and swimming parallel to shore. If you can’t get to shore, stay calm and wave your arms for help, the video says.

People often get in trouble while snorkeling, so another key to safety is to ask lifeguards about equipment and where to go before diving into the ocean.

There have been four drownings on Kauai this year. There were six in 2015 and 13 in 2016. The island has 10 lifeguard stations and three roving patrols. Officials emphasize swimming at lifeguarded beaches.

The video advises anyone seeing a person in trouble in the water to dial 911.

“Before entering the water, know the condition, know your limits, and most importantly, if in doubt, don’t go out,” said Dickie Chang, in the video.

The video will be available in many ways. It can be downloaded for use in high resolution with and or without captions. Restaurants, retailers, resorts, stores or just about anyone can download it and convert it for showings.

A premier of the video will be featured on Chang’s “Wala‘au” TV show today, Thursday and Saturday.

A special version will be running at Lihue Airport in conjunction with the State Department of Transportation and the Rotary Club of East Kauai.

The Kauai chapter of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association and the Kauai Chamber of Commerce will be promoting the video to their members.

KLA will be running ads on radio and in the newspaper with a presence on KLA’s Facebook, website and Instagram services. Free downloads from KauaiLifeguards.org should be available by April 3.

The video is part of the Ocean Minded Community campaign in 2017.

Those on board with the project included HLTA, the Rotary Club of East Kauai, Kauai Vacation Rentals, Timbers Resorts-Hokuala Development, Lawai Beach Resort, Whalers Cove, and Dukes Restaurant and Barefoot Bar.

That so many rallied to the project was gratifying to Melamed.

“You want to give more than you receive,” he added.

Anyone interested in supporting the KLA efforts in helping to save lives can contact Melamed 482-0218 or at andymelamed946@gmail.com.

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